Many of the names and some of the descriptions in this blog have been changed to protect the guilty.

Friday, May 3, 2024

The 1994 Fox Road Murder Mystery, Part 20: The "Friends" of Tammy Lynds

My apologies for letting more than four months go by without an explanation for the gap. Indeed, I’ve had a couple of long “vacations” without posting before (including a two-year one!), but those had been due to job layoffs, when I spent much of my free time on job searches instead of blogging.

This recent break is due more to the fact that I had been getting kind of burned out with the constant writing about Tammy’s murder. It’s a case that really grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. And it’s still got a grip on me!

I want to assure faithful Hell’s Acres readers that yes, I’m still here, and the usual blog contents—the stuff that doesn’t involve true crime—will resume in due time. I know full well that I inevitably lose readers when there are long interludes between posts, but please bear with me. Also, I’ll notify you of new posts on my Facebook page.

I first wrote about the Tammy Lynds case in 2012, when there was renewed interest after a Boston TV news station aired a lengthy story on Tammy’s death. This was the same year that the Hampden County DA came out with a web page of unsolved homicides, and Tammy’s case was listed even though the cause of death was never determined—as far as we know.

But I vowed that I wouldn’t write about it again unless I received new information. I finally did—last year, 11 years after my original post.

Actually, the murder popped up on my radar when Tammy’s friend Ricky S. had left a comment on the blog in 2019 (much of it I didn’t print) referring to Tammy Lynds’ father, Richard Lynds, contacting Ricky on Facebook messenger. This is what Richard wrote:

“Hi RS, there has been new information that has been brought to my attention. There is a place that you, your cousins and [name redacted] used to hang out at a lot. It was a very well-hidden place. It is what is known as the pit. This is where Tammy said she was going the night she disappeared, 25 years ago, a week from now. She was going to meet you there instead of at your parents’ home, which she did the week before.

“I have been told that Tammy did meet you at this pit and that is where she was killed. Her body was dragged out of the pit, up the bank, to the spot behind the log where she was finally found in November. My plan is to contact the news media with all this info before I go to the DA'S office. The reason why: I have been told that you and your family still have strong connections in the police department and my efforts to get help would get me nowhere. So I will leave it up to the news media to do my digging. Good luck and don't cross my path ever again.”

However, Richard was reacting to rumors, not fact. Ricky hadn't known about The Pit until last year. It was assumed that the last sentence referred to the time Richard gave Ricky dirty looks and tried to intimidate him at Mingles, a bar in West Springfield, where Ricky and his friends used to sing karaoke.

Ricky S. first emailed me directly in early April of 2023, stating that he had a story to tell—about a 2013 case involving him being the victim in a pedestrian accident at Walmart on Boston Road, and how the Springfield Police screwed it up when they arrived and ended up arresting him instead of the driver.

However, in the same email, Ricky S. wrote that had also been in contact with Tammy’s sister Allison, who was previously exchanging texts with him because she was pursuing leads in the murder, and the Lynds family had obviously long believed Tammy was supposed to meet Ricky S. the night she disappeared. Much of this theory is based on the fact that Ricky S. and Tammy had been sexual partners—or shall we say friends with benefits, and there was also a notation from Tammy’s mother, Susan, who had hand-written in her detailed chronicles of her family’s investigation that a friend of Tammy told her that she was meeting a “Ricky” that night:

Interestingly, during the course of my writing about Tammy’s murder in 2023, it was discovered that Tammy was also intimate with another Ricky, who lived on Carew Street.

But Tammy’s friend—the one that Susan listed as the source of what this “Ricky” had “admitted” about their planned meeting—told me that, despite what Susan wrote, he does not remember talking to Ricky D. from Carew Street about Tammy back in 1994. “And I have a great memory,” he added. Moreover, he certainly didn’t talk to Ricky S. about her.

So who was a supposedly pregnant Tammy supposed to meet the night of July 21, 1994? David B, according to notations from Tammy’s parents below, “saw Tammy in spring 1994.” Did they end their relationship before the summer, or was he seeing her at the time of her death? 

And then there’s the notion that Tammy had an abusive boyfriend, according to a 12-year-old girlfriend of Tammy’s. In this revelation, six months into this blog’s coverage of the murder, her girlfriend said that when Tammy was late meeting her un-named boyfriend, he would hit her. In fact, the last thing Tammy said to her the night she went missing was that she would be late again, and her boyfriend would “act out.”

Again, I ask, who was Tammy planning to get together with that fateful night? It’s the key question that this blog hasn’t been able to answer, because no one has supplied this crucial information. 

When Ricky S. first contacted me, he said that once “his face gets out there” as he publicized his own story about his accident in the Walmart parking lot—and the police allegedly altering evidence about it, along with denying him medical attention—he was certain that Allison would contact him again about her sister’s murder.

And Ricky S. was still eager to talk about Tammy’s case, because even though he was cleared by police less than a month after Tammy was found, he remains the main suspect in many people’s minds because of gossip. He is at a self-professed transformational stage in his life in which he would like to exorcise some demons—of which he has many. Because of years of a non-diagnosed overactive thyroid, he had experienced mental health issues and several suicide attempts.

So how better, by his reasoning, to set the record straight regarding his perceived involvement in Tammy’s murder than to have a blogger help solve the case—or at least make progress, and give it enough exposure to regenerate public and police interest in the homicide?

And I was more than willing to oblige. “Holy shit!” I said. “This is actually R.S., who Richard suspects killed his daughter!” I had wondered for four years who this was. Ricky was willing to let me use his full name in the blog, but I told him I was inclined not to, because in the eyes of some he was still a main suspect.

But in the spirit of more disclosure now, and with his OK, here’s his full name: Ricky Stebbins. He’s the one who connected me with Richard Lynds when my writing about Tammy resumed. Richard and Ricky at that stage seemed to get along, however awkwardly, which still marked a departure because they were both initially suspects and had been leery of one another: Ricky was taken from class, brought to the police station, and had photos of Tammy’s skeleton shoved in his face during questioning. Richard took a couple of polygraphs, which were deemed “inconclusive,” said Richard, who in 2013 was told by the DA’s Office he was no longer a suspect.

Now here were two initial suspects that were not exactly working together, but at least communicating about the case. Unfortunately, that relationship eventually soured, partially because they both have strong personalities.

Richard at first was hesitant to talk to Hell’s Acres because I am an anonymous blogger and he didn’t know me. But then he had a change of heart and eventually trusted me. The first theory that he revealed was that Susan, his wife, was high on his list of suspects, and not just because she and Tammy verbally and physically fought frequently.

“One of the unusual things that has had me confused is, the morning that Susan reported Tammy was missing started off as a normal day for me,” said Richard. “I got up to get ready for work, eating breakfast, getting dressed, making my, lunch and leaving. But that morning, Susan was completely dressed. Normally, as I would get ready for work, she would get out of bed in her nightgown.”

Richard was also suspicious of Susan taking such detailed notes and her talks with kids in the neighborhood during her own investigation. “She has too much info written down—having meetings and conversations with a few people high on my list,” he said. “Plus, there were problems that were happening between Tammy and her before Tammy was missing. There are a few other factors that I know of that just does not add up right. Remember, I lived through everything firsthand.”

I found this difficult to swallow because in going through Susan’s files, her notes have been a great help to me in sorting out the early months of the investigation. They documented what was going on, possible leads, and who the main players were. Her notes are especially important nowadays, because the original police investigative files were lost. But Richard didn’t see it that way. I asked him if he had told police about this hunch.

“My feelings about Sue—no I have not reported this to anyone,” he said. “Who would I tell and who would listen?”

I guess this is the part where I invite Susan to weigh in, because I’ve gotten only one side of the family story before Richard died last year. I had heard through the grapevine that Susan doesn’t want to get involved at this point—and hasn’t for a while—but I can’t fathom the idea that she’d want to stay on the sidelines forever. She might have accumulated useful information over the years. And after all, the threat of a public pissing contest with Richard is gone now. So the invitation is out there. Plus, her voice, whether she likes it or not, is already all over this series through her notes. I’m happy to report that Allison is starting to become engaged in this blog—minimally—but she is interested in helping me, and that is a big step forward.

Still, I thought we would have made more progress in a year since I began to explore this murder in depth. Because we’re in a period of inertia, I’m taking the liberty of publishing the names of people who had befriended Tammy (compiled by the Lynds family), as well as names from Tammy’s address book. In doing this, I know full well that I run the risk of some getting of her friends and associates angry, and because of this, giving them an excuse not to talk to me—even off the record, or under pseudonyms, because I supposedly violated their privacy. But so be it. This cold case has reached the stage where very few of her friends have responded to my direct requests to ask them questions, so they aren’t likely to talk to me in the future anyway.

Or are they?

Look, my hope is that putting these names out there might get people communicating. My only request is that readers don’t send in comments claiming certain people from these lists likely killed Tammy. I will not publish these accusations. If you have suspicions about specific associates of hers, just send an email to hellsacres@gmail.com.

This is a list Tammy’s parents had compiled of people Tammy knew—they sought out these students' photos in the Kiley and Kennedy Junior High yearbooks:

Yes, it says next to one kid’s name, “used to harass our Tammy.” April Brueno, who is Tammy’s cousin, is on this page.

Below are the pages are from Tammy’s phone ledger and the address portion of her diary. The phone numbers and addresses are redacted. I also cut out the last names of the Ricky D. and “David B,” who was her boyfriend, in the hope that they’re not contacted by trolls.

You’ll see that there are some comments that Susan had written in the phone ledger, such as “talked to his mom” and “phone always busy.”

Eric “Surge” is actually Eric Surridge, who had several arrests, including grand larceny and DUI drugs, and died by suicide in 2016.

These Susan comments above include the notion that Central High School students have the ability to get “abortions without notice to parents.” Richard had mentioned to me the possibility that Tammy once had an abortion.

A commenter in Part 14 of this blog series about Tammy listed some of her from Central High School: Kelly Hooper, Kristy Gzimalowski, Melanie Glynn, Virginia Hudson, Aiden Kelly, Anna Leilien, Mike Edgett, Joe Morrissey, Michael Rabbit, and Dominique Potter. I Facebook messaged a couple of them without responses. Tragically, Mike Edgett died in a car crash in 2022.

Surely, SOMEONE has SOMETHING to say 30 years after Tammy’s death. I know there is a hero out there—someone who can connect Tammy’s whereabouts from the time she snuck out of her house to the place she was found off Fox Road. It may be some small fact that may lead to another…and another…

I’m going to end this post with a quote from author James A. Autry that I had included at the end of one of my posts on the Danny Croteau cold case, which ended up being solved, to the surprise of many:

“I believe it is the nature of people to be heroes, given the chance.”

Read Part 1

Read Part 2

Read Part 3

Read Part 4

Read Part 5

Read Part 6

Read Part 7

Read Part 8

Read Part 9

Read Part 10

Read Part 11

Read Part 12

Read Part 13

Read Part 14

Read Part 15

Read Part 16

Read Part 17

Read Part 18

Read Part 19

Read Part 20